We have expanded our mushroom offerings at dartagnan.com to include some of our chef favorites. While organic cultivated mushrooms make up the majority of our catalog, we also offer wild-foraged mushrooms in season. These fresh mushrooms are sure to find their way into many of your cooking adventures.
What are Morel Mushrooms?
Morel is the common name for Morchella esculenta, a distinctive wild mushroom that is found around the world. Widely distributed in North America, the morel is especially common in eastern states and the Midwest.
The first morels herald the arrival of spring, usually in late March. We follow the season around the world, and import morels when the U.S. supply does not meet demands. Morels can be found in spring and throughout the summer, but as with all wild mushrooms, much depends on the weather. If it’s a rainy spring, morels that have grown will be ruined by excessive moisture. Temperature and sunlight are also important factors in the development of morels.
Found around the world, morels are a forager’s favorite. You may even spot the distinctive honeycomb cap of the morel on the forest floor while hiking. Beware of the false morel, which is toxic. Be sure to ask a mushroom expert, or refer to a mushroom guide, before eating any mushrooms you find in the wild.
Cooking Morel Mushrooms
Do not eat morels raw. With small morels, fry, or cook mushrooms whole. Larger morels should be sliced in half, or fourths, before cooking. The nutty, meaty taste of the morel is complemented best by butter and cream, so sauté briefly in butter and finish with light or heavy cream. White wine can be used to great effect with this unique mushroom. Morels are wonderful with chicken, rabbit, veal, or pork. But most will agree that fresh morels will make any meal just a little more exciting.
Try morels in risotto, pasta, or orzo, as we did in the springtime recipe pictured below.
Fun Fungi Fact: Morels feed on dead vegetation, and thrive in a forest that has experienced a fire, be it a controlled burn or wildfire. Called “burn morels,” these are some of the most valuable morels.